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Harker Heights: Street dedication honors city’s first African American police officer

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 8:19 PM CDT
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HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) - The city of Harker Heights honored the life and service of Freddie Nichols, the first African American police officer in the city’s history, with a street dedication ceremony on Wednesday.

“We know that our father’s life ended on earth some years ago,” said his son, Freddie Nichols Jr.

“However, we believe in divine intervention and predestination.”

After serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, Nichols served his community while earning his college degree from Central Texas College.

“During this time of our city’s history, money was very tight,” said Phil Gadd, current chief of the city’s police department.

“Equipment was usually used equipment. He never let that distract from his duties. He rarely complained and made the best out of any situation.”

That included the race riots underway when he became an officer in 1972. His daughter, Marrie Nichols Dixon, remembers how his friendly demeanor always shined through.

“I sort of look at it as a Rosa Parks type thing,” she said.

“She sat down because she was tired. My dad did his job because that was the job he was gonna do.”

Unfortunately, Nichols died of Prostate Cancer in 1987. While he wasn’t able to attend the ceremony, his children and the community believe his legacy will never be forgotten.

“It’s just remarkable to me how common people, doing common things, doing their jobs and doing it well, what an impact that can have,” Nichols-Dixon said.

“That’s who my dad was. Remarkably common.”

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